Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Have fun with succulents. Use these plants to create living sculptures, such as topiaries and living wreaths. These can be displayed indoors or out. Use these special plantings as focal points.
In true topiary, the plants are pruned on a regular basis to achieve the desired effect. Succulent topiary is somewhat different. To achieve the correct shape, succulents are planted into special topiary forms. The wreath or topiary form becomes completely covered with the succulents. So, all you see is the overall shape.
Dimensional succulent topiaries are great ways to celebrate the holidays. Consider using these for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter as well as other events throughout the year. For Christmas, consider living wreaths and Christmas tree shaped topiaries constructed with succulents. For Valentine’s Day, create a heart-shaped succulent design.
Living wreaths of succulents can also be used throughout the year. Wreath forms are available in many different shapes and sizes, some of which are of seasonal interest.
The Christmas tree succulent topiary is best displayed in a flower pot. For a more traditional look choose a fluted terra cotta pot.
Whimsical topiary forms are available in about every shape that you can imagine. I’ve seen everything from big shaggy dogs to cats, turtles, and bunnies.
Succulent topiaries can be displayed indoors and outdoors. It really depends on what plants you’re growing. If you’ve selected tender succulents for a living Christmas tree or Valentine’s wreath, hang these indoors where they won’t be exposed to winter cold. When hardy plants are chosen for topiary projects, these can be displayed outside. Don’t keep hardy plants in the house for months on end.
For succulent topiaries, the form needs to hold some potting soil around the roots. For living wreaths, this is done by wrapping potting soil in sheet moss. Then, make holes in the sheet moss to insert the roots of the succulents.
For succulent topiaries, select low growing plants like hen-and-chicks, spreading stonecrops, and Echeverias. Use a variety of colors, shapes, and leaf types.
Depending on the design, you can mix and match different succulents. Typically, low growing rosette-type species are preferred, such as hen-and-chicks and echeverias.